Dems may surprise in general election


It’s election day — well, for the El Paso County Republicans, anyway.

The local Democratic party doesn’t have a single contested race in the primary this year. But the fun will soon begin for the area’s progressives, as the campaign for the general election goes into full swing. While it may not seem that most Democrats have a snowflake’s chance in the reddest part of the state, some are packing surprise punches.

Here are a few local Democratic candidates who might wow voters this season:

  • Irv Halter
Irv Halter — He’s an Air Force vet who’s running for U.S. Congressional District 5, likely against incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn, a staunch Republican, but possibly against Lamborn’s staunch Republican primary opponent, Bentley Rayburn.

The odds are certainly stacked against a Democrat winning this race, but Halter is unusually good at fundraising. As of June 4, his campaign has brought in $450,388, including $37,975 from himself, while Lamborn’s campaign has raised just $391,881, including a $100,000 loan from himself. Rayburn was way behind, having raised $84,380, which included $9,697 from himself.

Jariah Walker - J. ADRIAN STANLEY
  • J. Adrian Stanley
  • Jariah Walker

• Jariah Walker – The local businessman is hoping to become the first Democrat on the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners in decades. He’s running in the most liberal-leaning district against very-conservative incumbent Peggy Littleton.

Littleton has the advantage of her party affiliation and her incumbency, but, interestingly, Walker seems to be lining up the conservative endorsements.
Recently, Walker scored the endorsement of Suzi Bach — about as close as anyone’s likely to come to getting an endorsement from Suzi’s husband, Mayor Steve Bach.

Walker was previously endorsed by City Councilor Jan Martin, and former City Council President Scott Hente. But most of Walker’s conservative endorsements have come from the local business world — people like Kelly Bain, Lynette Crow, and Joshua Green.

Littleton doesn’t have a list of endorsements on her campaign Web site.

  • Rep. Pete Lee
• Pete Lee — Lee is the incumbent representative in Colorado House District 18, and he’s already fought off one challenger to keep the seat.

In 2012, he beat well-funded Republican Jennifer George — 19,588 votes to 15,021.

This year, Republican Michael Schlierf, a managing member of a real estate investment company, is challenging Lee. He’ll probably need a good deal of luck to beat Pete. Lee’s got nearly $35,000 in his campaign war chest, while Schlierf has just over $2,500.

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